want to be innovative? try something new

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innovation

A new year is the perfect time for a fresh start; time to try something different—hoping this time it works better than the last. A new diet, a new workout, a new hobby, a new reading list, whatever it may be, despite our best intentions, most of us do these “new” activities for a few weeks (or a few months for those super-dedicated individuals), and then fall back onto the same old, easy habits.

You’ve likely experienced this at the office as well—perhaps making a New Year’s resolution to get your people to do better, more innovative work.  You’ve likely tried bonuses, incentive, even an “ideas” suggestion box in the past just to find these all have short-term impact. So how do you motivate people in a way that sticks? This year, try something new.

Try appreciating your people. Actively look for the great work your employees do and then tell them how much you appreciate it. Ask your team members to recognize the great attributes in each other as well.  Call out the achievements, successes, new ideas, extra effort, and finished projects with a thank you note, a public recognition moment in front of colleagues, or a one-on-one conversation with your employee. Letting employees know how much you value their work leads to an increase in their drive and determination, their connection to the company, their work relationships, and feelings of personal standing, according to a new global study by the Cicero Group.

The study also found employees receiving strong performance recognition:

 • Generate nearly 2x as many innovative ideas each month than those who don’t receive recognition
 • Are 61% more likely to proactively work to improve their company’s efficiency
 • Encourages them to be more innovative better than a 5% bonus
 • Are twice as likely to be a more innovative company than companies that do not have recognition

So in 2014, rather than trying the same techniques to motivate your people, try something new. Try appreciating them.

By christina chau
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